Cheap Thrills: Boots Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm


Sorry I have been away (assuming anyone noticed!). I am easing back into this blogging thing with a quickie on Boots Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm. I have been doing oil and cream cleansing for awhile and I was curious about balms. I spotted the Boots balm at Duane Reade and picked one up. Impulse buys aren’t usually this cheap ($8.49, 2.3 oz.) so that was cool since it’s a fraction of the cost of many cleansing balms. So the pros beyond the price (and there are many) include nice ingredients (see below) that are 97% organic and a very light (likee barely detectable) scent. It does the job in removing makeup. You just work it in, lay a wet washcloth over your face and then wipe it all away.

Olea europaea (Olive) fruit oil, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) seed oil, Cera alba (Beeswax), Butyrospermum parkii (Shea) butter, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (Sweet almond) oil, Cetearyl alcohol, Rosa canina seed oil, Limonene, Citronellol, Pelargonium graveolens flower oil, Citrus aurantium dulcis peel extract, Linalool, Citrus aurantium bergamia (Bergamot) fruit oil, Citrus medica limonum (Lemon) peel oil, Geraniol, Parfum (Fragrance), Citral

So what don’t I like? It is a bit thick. It does become oily when you work it in, but retains its waxiness. I don’t love removing eye makeup with it because of the thickness. You can’t beat the price, and it does the job, but it’s not particularly pleasurable to use in terms of texture and scent. I think I want a cleansing balm that is pleasurable to use. I have ordered a cult fave, so stay tuned for more on balms!

Make-up Faves 2015


Sorry that I’ve been away! I changed jobs (loving the new job), prepped for the holidays, had lovely family visit from out of town and more–all good stuff that pushed blogging to the back burner. But I am back.  I’m starting with make-up that I’ve used a lot this year. Some green, and some not. As I’ve always said, this space is greenish! I hope you’ve all been enjoying the holiday season!

Mascara: This year, I returned to Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara. This is the ONLY mascara that doesn’t smudge on me. It stays put so well that I can wear it on lower lashes. I don’t even try that with others. It very black and provides great volume and length in just 1-2 coats. It can be clumpy, so you have to clean off the wand a bit before you start.

Concealer: Onomie’s A.C.E. Illuminating Eye Treatment and Bright Concealing Elixir were staples this year. Read my review of this under-eye circle brightening and concealing duo here. I also succumbed to the internet buzz about Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Weightless complete Coverage Concealer. I bought it during the VIB sale and, well, wow. It’s a high-coverage, lasting product that truly is weightless. It doesn’t crease and lasts all day. The internet was right about this one.

Eyeliner: I am still loving the Youngblood Dual Highlighter Pencil for brightening tired peepers. I should probably get a new one soon. Read my review here. I also love the soft, pigmented, smudge-able, and long-lasting Sephora Collection Contour Eye Liner. I have it in brown and use it a ton.

Base: This year, I made the biggest dents in bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream (reviewed here);  Nars Sheer Glow. (I’ve never reviewed it, but it’s the best foundation I’ve ever used. It’s not perfect, but pretty damn close as far as department store offerings go.) In terms of green bases, it’s Gressa Minimalist Corrective Foundation all the way. See my post about it here.

Powder: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder is perfect, you hear? Perfect. I especially love the yellow-tinged Diffused Light for finishing my makeup and setting concealer. You only need a touch on a fluffy soft brush.

Lips: I made the biggest dents in Ilia Lip Conditioner in Blossom Lady (reviewed here); Jane Iredale Lip Pencil (liner) in Peach (I use this with lip colors ranging from nude to watermelon); and the newest addition is Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Fig (a peachy-nude-rose that is a tad bright, but in a very good way).

Tools: I own a fancy Japanese blush brush and I never use it. Instead, I go for the EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush. (Read about my most-reached for brushes here.) I also love the Real Techniques Buffing Brush, though this year I got a few of their Miracle Complexion Sponges and I love them. If you wanted to (specially when traveling) you could use this one tool for base, concealer, cream highlighter, and finishing powder. They work as well as a Beauty Blender for one-third of the price. Love.


Most Reached for Brushes


Something occurred to me this morning as I fished around the little clay pots I use to hold my brushes–I use the same 4-5 brushes most days. I really need to put them in  their own pot. The next thing that occurred to me is that my least expensive brushes see the most use (with my powder brush being the exception). I almost feel bad about collecting all those Wayne Goss brushes. Almost. I still reach for the fancy brushes when I have time to do more with makeup. So I’ll hold on to those beauties too. But for weekdays when time is of the essence? These are the go to brushes.

The Real Techniques Buffing Brush
This is part of the Real Techniques Core Collection. For about $10 you get this brush, the contour brush (more on that next), the pointed foundation brush (haven’t found a use for this one), and the detailer brush (this tiny baby is perfect for inner corner highlighting and smoothing concealer caught under the lower lashes). If you don’t have this set—wait, does anyone NOT have this set? Anyway if you don’t, you should get it for the buffing brush alone. This is perfect for the job: dense, but not too dense; soft, but not too soft; never sheds a hair; and is easy to wash. It buffs cream and liquid foundations perfectly and is also great for buffing in a little pressed or loose powder to blend together and soften bronzer, blush, and highlighter. It is a must have.

The Real Techniques Contour Brush
This brush is perfect for doing a quick, simple combination contouring/bronzing. The the tapered shape  and size are perfect for carving out cheek bones and shading along the jaw line. I use it with powder products, but being a synthetic brush this would probably be even better with cream products. When I got the set, I was so focused on the buffing brush that I didn’t give this much attention. Now I use it every day.

EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush
This brush costs $6.99 and is more than worth every penny. I love this thing. You can pat, pat, pat your way to perfectly blushed cheeks. When I went on a little fancy brush binge I bought a beautiful Japanese blush brush. Do I use it? Hardly ever. I have a whole post dedicated to this little lovely.

Sigma E25 Blending Brush
This brush is a well-known dupe for the famous MAC 217. It’s fluffy, has a rounded top, and synthetic hairs. It is made for blending the crease, but I like to use it for a quick swipe of sheer, matte color all over the lids, then I dip it into a shimmery shade for the inner corner. One and done. Another steal at $14.

Chikuhodo Passion Series PS1 Powder Brush
This brush was a Christmas present to myself last year. As my first Beautylish purchase, it was ten bucks off. It costs $64, and that is splurgey–though make no mistake, this series is entry-level for Chikuhodo brushes. It gets more expensive from here! Nothing about this brush feels low end. It is light-weight, beautifully crafted of soft goat hairs, and a complete pleasure to use. And damn, it’s pretty. It picks up and applies pressed powder perfectly. Invisibly. This is where I see the difference between synthetic and natural hairs. I don’t have an inexpensive brush to recommend. For me, it’s either this or setting powder with a flocked sponge.